Global Markets: Shares of BHP Drop on News of Brazil Law Suit

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The Wall Street Journal reported that shares of BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) fell sharply on Monday following news that the Brazillian government would sue both BHP and Vale over tailings dam disaster at the miners’ jointly owned iron-ore mine in Brazil in November.

As quoted in the publication:

The lawsuit, which is set to be officially filed on Monday, will demand damages of roughly 20 billion Brazilian reais (roughly $5.2 billion), the Attorney General’s office said on Friday, for a fund to help recovery efforts in the Rio Doce, a major river contaminated when a dam holding mine waste broke on Nov. 5 at an iron-ore operation in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state.

At least 13 people were killed and six remain missing, BHP said. The dam burst unleashed a torrent of waste that the U.N. called “toxic,” turning the Rio Doce orange in recent weeks and sending a plume of material into the Atlantic Ocean. Hundreds were displaced and entire villages were destroyed.

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